St. Bonaventure University

News, Publications & Research

Dr. Joseph Pellerito named founding director of SBU’s Occupational Therapy program

Jun 17, 2019

Joseph Pellerito Jr., Ph.D., OTR/L, has been named the founding director of the Occupational Therapy program at St. Bonaventure University. He begins work July 1.

“Dr. Pellerito will be a welcome addition to our School of Health Professions team,” said Douglas J. Pisano, Ph.D., dean and professor, School of Health Professions. “He has the knowledge, experience and temperament to build a truly outstanding Occupational Therapy program that reflects the university’s Franciscan tradition of care and compassion.”

Since 2017, Pellerito has been the director and associate professor of Occupational Therapy at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pellerito’s career includes working as an administrator, scholar, professor, entrepreneur, and therapy practitioner. He subscribes to the notion that effective administration, fundraising, education, scholarship, and service can lead to transformational ways of thinking and doing to make a positive impact in the lives of the people he serves.

“I am thrilled to be coming to St. Bonaventure because of its dynamic learning environment and commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service excellence,” Pellerito said. “Developing a pathway for students to study occupational therapy will enable them to acquire the skills necessary to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities and their caregivers.”

Pellerito has held administrative, therapist, and consultant positions in the academic and corporate sectors including:

  • professor/OTA program director at Brown Mackie College in South Bend, Ind.;
  • associate professor/director, TAO Applied Research Center at the University of Toledo;
  • department chair/program director, and associate professor at Western Michigan University;
  • department chair/program director, associate professor, and director of the Driving Simulation & Research Center at Wayne State University;
  • administrator and practice manager at Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) in The Detroit Medical Center.

Pellerito earned his Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from Wayne State University (2008); his master’s degree in Technology in Special Education and Rehabilitation from The Johns Hopkins University (1995); and his bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University’s Lee Honors College (1984).

The OT program is the second graduate program in development at St. Bonaventure, which began offering programs in its School of Health Professions in 2017 with an undergraduate program in Health Science, under the direction of Dr. Monica Thomas. An undergraduate program in Public Health, under the direction of Dr. Claire Watson, has since been added.

Dr. Keith Young has been building a program in Physician Assistant Studies since last June. In April, New York state approved the university’s RN to B.S. in Nursing undergraduate program, headed by program director Dr. Connie Perkins.

Renovation is expected to begin later this year on Francis Hall, future home of the School of Health Professions.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.